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Extra buses on the way 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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This story appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

George Crozier at a bus stop in Forest Hill

George Crozier has welcomed TfL’s promise of extra buses at peak times

Some good news from TfL for our campaign against bus overcrowding. They are laying on four extra services a day on the 176 route at peak times.

Focus Team member George Crozier asked Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, who is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, to take up overcrowding on the 176 and the 185 with TfL, and whether there is a need for additional buses at peak times. This followed a survey which identified the two routes as among the ten most overcrowded in the whole of London.

Caroline and her office energetically took up the issue and we have now been told by TfL that they will be running additional services on the 176 towards central London during the morning rush hour and in the opposite direction in the evening rush hour. Buses will now be running every seven minutes rather than every eight minutes on during these peak times.

TfL told Caroline they could not “provide a precise timescale at present, but would like to assure Mr Crozier that we are working hard to implement this proposal as quickly as possible, subject to receipt of costs from the operator and approval.”

On the 185, TfL say they are still reviewing the data, and depending on the outcome will look at undertaking additional surveys or providing extra buses if required.

We will keep you informed of developments on both routes.

More buses on the way? 14 April 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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More buses on the way?

George Crozier at a bus stop in Forest Hill

George looking serious at the bus stop outside The Capitol

Some promising news from TfL for our campaign against bus overcrowding. They are ‘exploring the possibility’ of providing extra services.

As I wrote back in March, we asked Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, who is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, to take up overcrowding on the 176 and the 185 with TfL, and whether there is a need for additional buses at peak times. This followed a survey which identified the two routes as among the ten most overcrowded in the whole of London.

Caroline and her office energetically took up the issue and, via them, we have received this reply from TfL (my bolding):

I would like to assure Mr Crozier that we regularly monitor demand on the bus network in a variety of ways, including surveys (we have conducted around 7000 in the last three years alone), use of Oyster card data, and reviews of customer and stakeholder correspondence. Although complaints about overcrowding typically comprise fewer than 5 per cent of the total comments we receive about buses, we take all such complaints seriously and address them in a variety of ways including changes to frequencies and bus sizes as well as measures to improve reliability.

We have now investigated the reports of over-crowding on routes 176 and 185, and I can confirm that both routes do look well used. We are therefore exploring the possibility of providing an additional journey or journeys on route 176, although I must emphasise that this proposal is provisional, and is subject to confirmation of costs from the operator and final approval. We are currently reviewing the existing passenger loading data for route 185 in closer detail, and depending on the outcome we will look at undertaking additional surveys or proposing a change in capacity if required. I will be happy to provide an update as soon as further information is available.

I’ve asked for clarification on likely timescale, both for the next update from TfL and for the actual provision of any additional services, and will post that here as soon as I hear anything.

Fingers crossed!

Bus campaign: Next stop City Hall 22 March 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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George Crozier at a bus stop in Forest Hill

Lib Dem campaigner George Crozier is leading calls for action on bus and rail overcrowding

This story appeared in the February – March 2014 Forest Hill Focus

The Forest Hill Focus Team are working with Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon to get action to tackle overcrowding on buses serving our area.

Caroline is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, which recently identified the 185 and 176 as among the ten most overcrowded bus routes in the capital. She has tabled questions to London Mayor Boris Johnson asking why TfL do not officially measure and publish information on bus crowding, as happens with trains. She has also asked TfL to look into overcrowding on the 185 and 176 specifically, and whether there is a need for additional buses at peak times.

Overground update

The Lib Dem team have welcomed news that trains on the London Overground serving Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham are to be extended to five carriages to tackle overcrowding . The first of the longer trains should be in service by the end of 2014.

Some platforms are also to be extended. However TfL do not appear to be considering other station improvements, such as installing extra escalators to ease congestion at popular interchanges such as Canada Water. Forest Hill campaigner George Crozier has written to TfL asking them to explore this.

The Focus Team want to hear from bus and rail passengers about their experiences, especially with overcrowding. Please contact George Crozier at crozierg@yahoo.co.uk.

It’s Official. 185 and 176 are: Full to Bus-ting 4 January 2014

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Susan Kramer with Margot and George

Local campaigners George Crozier and Margot Wilson raised bus overcrowding when they met with Transport Minister Susan Kramer (centre) recently, While buses are the responsibility of Transport for London, which is run by the Mayor of London, national government sets the level of TfL’s grant.

This story appears in the December 2013 / January 2014 Forest Hill Focus

Buses serving Forest Hill, Honor Oak and Sydenham are among the most overcrowded in London. The 185 from Lewisham to Victoria is the most crowded of all and the 176 from Penge to Tottenham Court Road is also in the top ten, according to a survey carried out by the London Assembly’s Transport Committee.

Focus Team campaigners George Crozier and Margot Wilson raised the issue when they met with Transport Minister Susan Kramer recently.  While buses are the responsibility of Transport for London, which is run by the Mayor of London, the national government sets the level of TfL’s grant.

The Forest Hill Lib Dem team are calling on TfL to:

  • Officially measure and publish information on bus crowding, as happens with trains, including the number of people who cannot board a bus because it is too full and the number who are unable to get a seat once on board
  • Invest in additional buses for routes in south east London including the 185 and 176, to reduce overcrowding

George Crozier said: “With our area a ‘no go zone’ for the Tube it’s no surprise that buses are so packed. TfL need to get their act together, start measuring overcrowding properly and provide extra buses for the busiest routes at peak times.”